- See the article Ways to Reduce Your Legal Fees
- Bring as much as possible of the following information to your first appointment
- Your full name, and previous name(s) and date and place of birth.
- Your ex-partner’s full name, and previous name(s) and date and place of birth.
- The date and place of marriage, a copy of the marriage certificate or information about when co-habitation started.
- Date of separation.
- The full names and dates of birth and place of birth of all children from the relationship.
- Names and dates of birth of any other children (step children, etc.)
- List of significant assets owned by you or your ex-partner at the start of relationship.
- Income of each party (copies of wage slips or tax returns).
- Details of companies and trusts that you or your ex-partner are involved in.
- Dates of significant events, e.g. when an inheritance or worker’s compensation payment was received.
- A list of assets and liabilities at date of separation.
- Communicate with your ex-partner in a constructive matter.
- You may be able to reach agreement on certain matters.
- Pick your battles. Decide what is important to you (and your children) and what you can let go.
- Arguing about trivial issues that will not matter in the long run may affect your chances of reaching the best outcome and it will increase your legal fees.
- Be reasonable.
- Put your children’s needs first.
- Do not expect to automatically have the children with you 50% of the time and get 50% of property.
- Be open to a variety of options for settlement, your lawyer may come up with a possible solution which is better for you in the long run. What is best in the short term; may not be beneficial for you in the future.
- Negotiation and mediation can achieve a better and cheaper outcome than going to court; and you have more control over the outcome.
- Avoid venting to your lawyer
- Your lawyer is your legal advocate, not a professional counsellor.
- It is more beneficial for you to use the services of a psychologist or therapist to assist you with the emotional aspects of your situation, and it is likely to be cheaper.
- Do not compare your situation to a friend’s supposed outcome.
- Each family situation is different, and the solutions will need to suit you and your children.
- Their circumstances are different to yours, and they may not have told you everything.
Sample List of Assets and Liabilities for Individuals
|Bank Account 1|
|Bank Account 2|
|Bank Account 3|
|Mortgage on Family home|
|Mortgage on Investment property|
|Loan on Vehicle 1|
|Loan on Vehicle 2|
|Loan on Vehicle 3|
|Personal Loan (s)|
|Credit Card 1|
|Credit card 2|
|Credit card 3|
If either of you have a business, company or a family trust; or either or you are a beneficiary of a trust, you need to provide similar information about those entities.